- Are you and your partner arguing almost every day?
- Do you feel no matter what you say that your partner won’t listen or understand you?
- Do you feel miles apart and just going through the motions of having a relationship?
- Do you yearn to be understood and loved the way you used to when you first met?
In this article you will discover what’s really going on: is it a communication problem or something deeper?
What is communication?
Have you ever noticed the word commune in communication? It’s a good hint to what communication really is: to converse or talk together, usually with profound intensity, intimacy, etc.; interchange thoughts or feelings. To be in intimate communication or rapport (ref: www.dictionary.com).
What is your Level of Connection?
The question is, does the main communication problems in relationships lie in the communication or in the level of connection prior to talking together. Of course, there are tools that you can learn to help your communication, but do you really want to talk and listen as per the word commune when your level of connection is low, or non-existent?
Relationship Exercise – Your Connection
- Remember your last chat – what level of connection did you have? Rate it out of 10 – 10/10 being the highest.
- Remember your last argument – what level of connection did you have out of 10? ____
- Remember a time when you first fell in love – what level of connection did you have then, out of 10? ____
Stay connected with that feeling of loving connection you experienced in number 3 above and now think about having a conversation with your partner. Does it feel easier? Are you more motivated to talk? Are you more willing to listen to his or her point of view?
Arguments are a normal part of a relationship, but they never solve anything or go anywhere unless you are able to maintain your connection. Feeling connected, especially before trying to work out an issue, is therefore imperative.
Now let’s look at the level of stress in your relationship. Why? Because the stress response is an automatic survival mechanism that can get out of control and stir up your relationship.
Relationship Exercise – Your Level of Relationship Stress
- When you think about your relationship in this moment what level of stress comes up? Rate it out of 10____.
- Think of an issue in your relationship. What level of stress comes up? ____/10
Your relationship stress response occurs whenever you perceive any form of danger from your partner, which is usually unconscious. Perceived danger stimulates your automatic fight/flight response with the positive intention to keep you safe.
In my sessions with couples, the intention is to quickly bring down the level of stress in their relationship which will rapidly help their connection. It also helps to clear their mind which is necessary to be able to resolve issues.
There are 2 very easy ways to bring down the automatic stress response: one for the fight (anger) response and one for the flight (fear) response.
When you feel either of these emotions, fear or anger, your body is physiologically set up to fight or run. Of course, there are different levels of these two emotions, but whatever level, there is adrenalin circulating your blood stream to either fight or flee. In our society, unless there is a very dangerous situation, it is usually not acceptable to act on either of these emotions.
The Simple Solution to Clearing the Fight-Flight Stress Response
Instead of physically fighting or fleeing you can simply use active visualisation instead to rapidly release the adrenalin and emotion, as the subconscious mind cannot differentiate between what is real and what is imagined. (see Rapidly Relieve Relationship Stress
Once the fight-flight emotions have been cleared other emotions such as grief, sadness, depression… may come up which are based on how you evaluated the situation that caused the fight-flight response. These emotions can also be rapidly cleared through a simple process that releases the emotional chemicals that are stuck in the body.
What Else Underlies Disconnection?
Stepping on Each Other’s Broken Toes
Your connection is always impacted when you trigger each other’s old wounds, but you may not know that is what is happening. You may also not be aware that you have a broken toe or old wounds yourself. When you understand that a lot of your partner’s reactions are due to an old wound being triggered and that the wound is based in needs that have not been met, it can transform your connection as you realise that the reaction is not necessarily about you. This is an area that couples can do really deep healing work together once they have the skills.
Some Simple Ways to Reconnect
- Appreciate each other on a daily basis. Point out the positive little things as well as the big things that you love about your partner.
- Do something for your partner that you know he or she loves.
- Take time to really listen to one another, without distraction and reflect back what is said so that your partner knows that you have been listening. This practice will encourage your partner to go deeper, especially if you ask whether there is more that she or he wants to share.
- When your partner is downloading negatively, just listen without interruption and try to see that what is being said isn’t really about you. It’s more likely an old wound that has been triggered, unless you have gone out of your way to hurt her or him.
- When you own your behaviour and take responsibility for it, it is easier to say ‘I’m sorry’ and really mean it which deepens your connection.
Once your connection is repairing you will find that it will be easier to talk more openly and be more willing to be close and intimate. This is a better time to learn communication skills in order to start resolving issues positively.
I love to answer any questions you may have or reply to any comments, so please post them below.